Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Mother Night

Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut, published in 1961, looks at how we view reality. What we see is not what always the truth, no matter how real it appears. And the books looks at what evil things can do to a man and his beliefs.

Howard Campbell Jr. is the main character of the novel. He is an American by birth, but moved to Germany before Hitler gained power. He does a lot of evil things while serving Hitler, but is he really serving Hitler or someone else?

The book is told through the eyes of Mr. Campbell, and  Mr. Campbell is a sympathetic character; even though he is an ex-Nazi propagandist.

The book also examines what people feel about themselves when under the control of a brutal regime. Mr. Campbell at times searches for answers, and tries to deny his past. Reality is something that Mr. Campbell can't seem to accept, but he does learn that the old self is still part of the new self, and that fact doesn't change no matter how much he wishes it would change.

The ending of the book doesn't disappoint.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Capital Punishment and Ronnie Gardner

Ronnie Lee Gardner died by firing squad at 12:20 a.m.

There was doubt that Ronnie Lee Gardner killed two men, but did his past mean he should have served life in prison instead of death by firing squad? According to Wikipedia.com, the United States executed  52 people. This ranked fifth on the list of countries that still use capital punishment. 

Ronnie Lee Gardner shouldn't of died by firing squad. He shouldn't of spent 25 years on death row. He shouldn't be in the news right now. 

Ronnie Lee Gardner's victims families needed to feel justice was served, but executing the person responsible for their pain was not effective therapy for giving them closure. They can claim they felt closure, but they will still be missing their loved ones. 

There is no form of justice that will bring back a loved one from the dead. Revenging a death is not a good practice in any country. 

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

What Milwaukee Means to the Whole State of Wisconsin

Living in Milwaukee has it ups and downs, but right now Milwaukee is on one of those downward swings. The city needs help, if only to help it become a place of economic growth.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel published a piece about college graduates staying Milwaukee and the results of the mass exodus of graduates leaving once they get their diploma.

I think the most striking part of the article is the fact Milwaukee is falling behind on retaining college graduates.
According to the article, the graduates make an important contribution to the safety and growth of the city. But, Milwaukee isn't really retaining many graduates.

The unemployment rate in Milwaukee was 10.5% for March. The number could be lower right now, but even still, that is a very high number for a city that boast two large universities.

Minneapolis was mentioned in the comment section of the article, and the unemployment numbers for Minneapolis in March  was 7.8 % and expected 6.8% unemployed in April.

What does this story have to do with the rest of the state? Tom Barret and Scott Walker are both from Milwaukee, and they are running for governor. They both claim they are going to create jobs. It sure seems like empty promises, if you look at the number of unemployed in their city, and their lack of job creation.

A New Picture

I wanted to capture the sense of falling coming. I also like the way the birdbath looked something like a shield. 

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Censoring Helen Thomas

In an ever growing world of political correctness, Helen Thomas was victimized by her own words and prejudices.

Her opinions on Israel were wrong, but she was expressing her opinions. Do we not want our journalist to feel passionate one way or the other on issues? Were her views taken the same way by Palestinians? She was raised by Lebanese immigrants, and it appeared on camera that her biases leaned more towards the Palestinians.

She always had an opinion and just because her opinion was racist doesn’t mean that she shouldn’t be given a second chance. People should be allowed to mistakes, and why was the first response the one the involved her resigning from her job.

Sure, Rush Limbaugh lost his job on ESPN when he made racist comments about Donovan McNabb. Rush is still on the air making racist comments. It really doesn’t appear that he learned anything from what he said on ESPN.

Newspapers are sensitive to their advertisers’ worries and the repercussions of comments made by their employees that might cause them lost advertising revenue. But Ms. Thomas was a syndicated columnist that was paid for opinion.

How many people read the opinion section of their newspaper and get offended by the opinions expressed by writers they don’t like. That is why it is called the opinion section and not the news page. People crave opinions, even if they don’t match their own opinions, because if they didn’t there wouldn’t be an opinion section.

It might even appear racist to defend Helen Thomas, because that means taking her side. There really isn’t any side when it comes to freedom of speech. She had the right to her opinion, and because her job was as a journalist she was held to different standards. Would she have lost her job is she was a novelist? It is hard say.

The freedom of speech allows people to speak their mind and express opinions opposite of what is popular or right. People should be allowed to make their own opinions on what is wrong and right.

But, freedom of speech in the past couple decades seems to also come with the limits of speech that is deemed hurtful and contrary to the public good. And this new standard hasn’t allowed the freedom of ideas to be expressed to the intent the amendment. Politically correct speech isn’t free speech but censorship in sheep’s clothing.

Ms Thomas won’t be reporting from the White House, and I am sure in the next couple months her opinions will disappear from the thoughts of most newspaper readers. It is just sad to see someone that did so much for women journalist make comments like she did.

It is also sad to think that “I am sorry” isn’t good enough anymore, and that the best thing for someone like her is to resign her post as an opinionated columnist. Her opinion didn’t do anything to change people’s opinions on the Middle East peace process, but it did make her look foolish.